Premier: Federal govt wants non-govt official to represent Sarawak on IRB Board

Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Aug 6: The Federal government has requested a non-government official to represent Sarawak on the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) Board of Directors to facilitate the provision of annual special grants under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.

Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said the State government has initially named State Financial Secretary Datu Wan Lizozman Wan Omar to represent Sarawak.

“According to IRB, the (number of) government officials as Board members is enough. Thus, they want the representative from Sarawak to be a non-government official.

“Sarawak’s stance was that we want our representative to be from the government, and we have named the State Financial Secretary to represent Sarawak.

“This matter will be reviewed and looked into from the legal perspective by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, and he will give his views to the Federal government,” he told reporters after chairing a Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Supreme Council meeting held at PBB headquarters today.

He further clarified that the issue of Sarawak’s demand to have a representative in the IRB was technically resolved except for the finalisation of the person to represent the State on the Board.

“We have discussed the State government policies, including the establishment of the sovereign fund and Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) with regards to our representative in the IRB, which the federal government agreed. So what’s (issue) left is on the representative.

“Senior Minister of Works Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof and Wan Junaidi will oversee the matter relating to the appointment of the Sarawak’s representative in IRB,” he added.

Under Article 112D, Sarawak and Sabah are entitled to an allocation of special grants.

However, Abang Johari and the Sarawak government have previously stressed that the special grant must be specified with a reasonable formula based on the Federal government’s annual income revenue and not a fixed amount.

Following this, Sarawak sought to have a representation in IRB which would allow the State to be in the know of how much taxes are being collected in Sarawak and how much revenue the country generates, and then come up with a formula for discussion with the federal government with regards to the amount of the special grant.

Under the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report, in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), there is also a provision which states that Sarawak must have representation in the IRB. — DayakDaily